A day after being pulled up by the Bolpur court for being soft on Visva-Bharati hostel warden Uma Poddar, police charged her with cruelty to a juvenile. This is a punishable crime and carries a six-month jail sentence.
Poddar, who has been accused of forcing 10-year-old Punita Mistri to drink her own urine as punishment for bedwetting, had earlier been charged with negligent act likely to spread disease and wrongful punishment.
On Monday, the court had observed that stricter charges should have been brought.
The court had also ordered that the charges for Punita’s medical treatment be deducted from Poddar’s salary. But Manoj Mistri, Punita’s father, refused.
“I won’t accept any payment from the university. I can afford it,” said Mistri, who had been arrested on Monday after the university had accused him of trespassing. Mistri and his wife had gone to the hostel to take away their daughter late on Saturday night.
“If we were a threat to security, why did the security guards let us in?” Mistri demanded. “Did we beat up anybody or use filthy language? Did we take goons with us?”
The torture of Punita and the events that followed has triggered outrage across the nation.
The Prime Minister’s Office asked for a report on it and the NCPCR ordered a probe. On Tuesday, Governor MK Narayanan, the university’s rector, asked for a detailed report from university vice-chancellor Sushanta Dutta Gupta.
Under fire from all sections, the Visva-Bharati authorities have restricted media access to the campus.